Don’t Call Charlie

Dr. James Emery White | Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary | Thursday, May 28, 2015

Don’t Call Charlie

A new challenge game is going viral. It’s about connecting with a dead spirit from Mexico named “Charlie.”

Fueled by thousands of videos from young people supposedly showing “contact,” the game is played by placing two pencils in the shape of a cross on a piece of paper with the words “yes” and “no.”  Those present then repeat the phrase, “Charlie, Charlie can we play?” in order to make contact with the demon.

If “Charlie” is there, the pencils are said to move toward his answer.

If “present,” then questions of any kind are asked…and answered.

To end the game, players say, “Charlie, Charlie can we stop?”

If you are ever invited to play this game, don’t. In fact, flee the entire situation. Don’t even be present as an observer.

If you are a parent that catches even the slightest whiff of this in your child’s life, do quick intervention.

Because it’s not a game.

It’s the occult.

The word “occult” just means that which is hidden, or secret, beyond the range of ordinary human knowledge or below the surface of normal life. Used in that sense, it’s almost a neutral term. But it has come to be used as a reference to those practices which link up, intentionally or not, with the hidden, or secret, world of Satan and his demons.

And that is not neutral.

Then it involves engaging the forces of darkness, connecting with Satan and his fellow demons. When someone does that, they willfully open the door of their life to their presence and activity.

And nothing could be more dangerous.

So what are the marks of something “occultic” in this way? There are three primary characteristics: 

The first characteristic is the disclosure or communication of information unavailable to humans through normal means. This would involve things like horoscopes, fortune-telling, psychic hotlines, and tarot cards.

The second mark of things occultic has to do with the placing of persons in contact with supernatural powers, paranormal energies, or demonic forces. This would entail the attempt to summon up a spirit, or a deceased relative through a séance, or channeling a spirit, or procuring the services of someone claiming to be a medium.

The third mark of the world of the occult is any attempt to gain and master power in order to manipulate or influence other people into certain actions. This would include all forms of witchcraft and the casting of spells.

There is no dead spirit from Mexico named Charlie.

There are, however, demons only too happy for the ruse.

And the open door.

James Emery White



“The Charlie Charlie Challenge – what is the spooky craze?,” The Telegraph, May 27, 2015, read online.

Editor’s Note

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. His latest book, The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated, is available on Amazon. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church and Culture blog, visit, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on twitter @JamesEmeryWhite.

Don’t Call Charlie